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GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A RESEARCH PROPOSAL FOR THE STRUCTURED PhD IN THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION The on-line applications

requires you to complete a section in relation to your proposed research. Below are guidelines in relation to filling in this section: The PhD thesis proposal should be between 25003500 words and should be written with the following headings in mind: Overall Aim/Research Question (250 - 300 words) A brief and clear explanation should be provided of the nature of the research problem, i.e. the topic for investigation and the context within which it is located. Why is there a need for research in this area now? Review of the Literature (1000 1500 words) Reviewing the existing literature on the subject will enable candidates to formulate the problem clearly and may suggest research methodologies appropriate to the research question. Of importance here is an indication of the national and international research that is currently being published in the area and how the proposed research fits into current debates. Research Methodology (500 - 1000 words) Students may adopt a variety of research methodologies and the methodology section should be outlined in sufficient detail to give the Director of the PhD programme a general indication of the feasibility of the proposed project including some indication of sample size and selection. Although it is accepted that the research design may change as the project develops, at proposal stage the research methodology section should indicate the proposed research design and the techniques one is proposing to use, e.g.: (1) (2) (3) (4) whether the research will be conceptual, qualitative or quantitative, or will combine elements of all of the above; whether the dominant methodology will utilise approaches such as survey research, experimental models, action research, programme evaluation, ethnographic approaches, case study methodology, or some alternative approach(es); Sample size and selection; If quantitative research is envisaged, proposals should include the candidates' ideas on: (i) the population to be studied; (ii) the selection of subjects; (iii) observers/raters, if appropriate; (iv) any statistical tests and measures to be used - their relevance, validity, reliability, strengths and limitations; (v) tasks/treatment conditions, if appropriate; (vi) administrative procedures to be adopted; (vii) any other apparatus/materials required.

Proposals should adhere to ethical guidelines regarding research with human subjects (see www.ucd.ie/research/ethics) but full guidance/support on seeking ethical approval will be provided during the course of the structured PhD programme. Prospective students may find

it useful to consult the research ethics sections of research methods textbooks such as Chapter Three "Ethics, Legal Constraints and Human Relations" in W.R. Borg and M.D. Gall, Educational Research: an Introduction. Analysis (300 600 words) The analysis section should include an outline of the anticipated conceptual, statistical or other analysis to be used in the research, as appropriate. Reference should be made to the potential implications of the research for education. Summary Outline of Chapters (300 words) The proposal should include a preliminary outline of the thesis under a series of broad Chapter headings much like a table of contents. These will inevitably change as the research develops but at this stage it helps to provide an overall structure and shape to the research proposal. Preliminary Bibliography (300 words) The PhD thesis proposal should include an outline, preliminary Bibliography. This should include up-to- date references that are drawn from peer reviewed journals as well as book publications in the field. Recommended Reading: American Psychological Association (1983). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 3rd ed., Washington DC: American Psychological Association. Bell, J. (1993). Doing your Research Project, A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education and Social Science, Milton Keynes: Open University Press. British Psychological Society (1989). Psychological Testing: Guidance for The User, Leicester: British Psychological Society. Evans, K.M. (1984). Planning Small Scale Research, Windsor: NFER-Nelson. Harris, P. (1986). Designing and Reporting Experiments, Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Borg, W.R. and Gall, M.D. (1989). Educational Research: an Introduction, New York: Longman. Turabian, K.L. (1987). A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, London: Heinemann. Copies of these books are held in the Library and/or in the university bookshop.